Smash @ Xanadu has been one of the Super Smash Bros. most notable weeklies for years, but this weekend will be the end of an era. Xanadu will be closing its doors after its last hurrah: one more Smash Bros. tournament.
Dubbed Xanadu: End Of An Era, both the Smash 4 and Melee events this weekend will feature big names like Nairo, Mr. E, ChuDat, and Hax alongside the local talent pool in Arbutus, Maryland, at the Xanadu Games store.
Matthew “Aposl” Lofton and Calvin “GimR” Lofton, co-founders of VGBootCamp, made the announcement that Xanadu would be closing last month on VGBC’s YouTube channel. The team had been hosting the weeklies at Xanadu for years, and took over the store with Matthew as manager three years ago. But as he says, all good things must come to an end.
The video doesn’t end on a sour note, however. “We are currently working on a partnership that will lead to something even bigger and better,” said Matthew Lofton. “But we don’t have the papers signed yet, so we don’t want to make any promises at this point.”
In a follow-up conversation with me today, Calvin said that the owners of the space wanted another two years, while the Loftons are looking to grow.
“Xanadu hit a growth ceiling,” Lofton told Compete. “We really want to help grow our local Smash Bros. and fighting game scenes. We were okay with coasting while looking for a partner or another venue but our landlords wanted us to sign a two-year lease. That’s far too long and gives us no room to grow. We even had to put a cap on this final event because the space wasn’t big enough. The lease we’re on right now ends at the end of February so that’s why we’re ending when we are.”
Calvin also teased on the r/smashbros subreddit today that a special video might be coming after the tournament is over. In the meantime, this is a good opportunity to celebrate the legacy of what might have been one of the first-ever weeklies for Smash Bros.
At Xanadu, there were proposals. There were pop-offs. There were heartwarming tales of a kid going to his first Smash Bros. tournament ever.
Whatever VGBC is planning next for the Maryland scene, it’s worth taking the time to cherish the local tournament scenes. As the industrial construct of esports grows bigger and bigger around us, it’s good to remember that it all started in the grassroots, down in tournaments like Smash @ Xanadu.
You can follow the day’s action over at the VGBootCamp Twitch channel.
Update [2/25, 11:20 a.m. ET]: A video shown at the end of the Xanadu tournament revealed that it will be moving to a new locale at Laurel Park. The new venue will be three times the size of the old one, and weeklies will start back up March 26.
(Nice use of the ABBA track, too.)